SIOUX CITY | The NAIA Volleyball National Championship casts its opening serve at the Tyson Events Center Tuesday.
Siouxland teams Morningside and Dordt will be among the 32 from across the nation that will be playing for the championship that is on its ninth consecutive stop in Sioux City. The number of teams competing jumped from the 24 that qualified last year, and that will more than likely cause a jump to the Sioux City economy.
"(The championship) gives local hotels, restaurants, and businesses an extra boost that they've come to depend on every year. It also exposes Sioux City to people who may not visit here otherwise, so it's a great opportunity to showcase our fantastic quality of life," Tyson Events Center Executive Director Erika Newton said. "All season, these athletes are competing to finally make the trip to Sioux City, so it's wonderful to know that our community is thought of in this way."
Tournament Co-Director and Great Plains Athletic Conference Commissioner Corey Westra believes the event offers a big-time experience.
"I've been around the national volleyball championship for quite a few years myself and... I think the thing that sets Sioux City apart... is that we have the ability to play under one roof at the Tyson Events Center and it’s a championship feel and environment," said Westra. "No matter what court you are on -- or in -- you are in that championship environment, the big stage. That has been a major draw to Sioux City over the years."
Newton said that though it's difficult to predict, she estimated 20,000 people might be coming to town to increase revenues at hotels and restaurants. Last year, the city estimated the championship had an economic impact of over $7 million for the city, and she expects that number to increase with the extra teams.
Nick Gunn, the owner of McCarthy & Bailey's Irish Pub, said he gets more business during both the volleyball championship and the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Championship, which is held at the Tyson in March.
"The longer the teams are here the more business we get. I know that doesn’t really make any sense because most of the people are here at the beginning. But once they try the place out they seem to come back once they know they like it," Gunn said. "We get a lot of coaches coming in, probably after the players go to bed, so they can get a drink... but it's good, we look forward to it."
Lila Plambeck, the general manager for Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center, said she and her staff are excited for the additional guests.
"We just look forward to it every year. We are all prepared. We got the banner up in our lobby, we sponsor one team but we host two," Plambeck said "Our entire team gets excited for it, and we just love it. We love the girls coming in and they sit around and they do their studies, then they go off to practice, and then they come back to take their ice baths -- all the things they got to go through for their muscle aches and pains -- we just love accommodating them."
The tournament runs through Saturday, with the championship match at 7 p.m. Saturday. Day passes are $14 for adults and $7 for children ages 5-18 and college students with ID. Tournament passes are available for $50. Tickets can be found at the Tyson Events Center box office, online at TysonCenter.com or by calling 800-514-ETIX.